Tidal Energy

I’ve been a little out of love with Dublin recently. The weather’s been grim: grey skies and endless rain, and I’ve been sloshing about in the sodden knowledge that tomorrow will bring more of the same. Except tomorrow surprised me, at least when it was yesterday, and I woke to sunshine and the sudden joy of a blue sky.

I work near the port and parked my car in its usual spot. I was early enough to dawdle – another miracle – and stood watching the Liffey, so calm it looked almost motionless. A silver haze skimmed its surface, stippling the hulls of sailing boats nodding in the marina.

(The port end of a river is the business end. When did it become so beautiful?)

Starlings on overhead wires chirped noisily. A handful of geese flew in from the park; took a turn on the mirrored water. It all seemed civilised, somehow, a momentary truce between man and nature.

Across the river, a yellow crane stood like a giant Meccano set. A line of trucks waited to board the ferry: their corrugated containers bright and cheerful. The day seemed full of potential; full of promise.

The feeling wouldn’t last. I knew that, even as I wallowed in it. Still, something profound seemed possible: some insight hovered like the haze over the water.

I took a breath and turned away.


Categories Blog: Here and ThereTags , ,

10 thoughts on “Tidal Energy

  1. Hi Aileen – thank your for writing that. It made me think – if it were sunny every day I don’t think we’d value the magic of sunlight as we do, we folk of the grey rainy skies. We turn towards it, don’t we, when I remember the people of Cairo or Athens seeking out blissful shade.

    I thought of my children when they were little, who would have found every moment in front of containers and docks an utter delight, because of the detail of the serious, big, workmanlike world laid out before them. And on a grey day they would have seen through the chilly light – as Northern children learn to do if they are ever likely to enjoy a summer’s day at the beach.

    The world is as it is and we choose to find the beauty in it. Easily said, less easily done – this isn’t a criticism, it’s an acknowledgement of the human state.

    I like your container photo – did you have to go far to find different colours? As I ask that I have a feeling that there are container spotters, like train spotters, who could tell you how far each container had travelled and what’s likely to be inside them.

    All best wishes


    1. Hi Elaine,

      You’re right, of course. The blue skies are a treat precisely because they’re unpredictable. Who knows how long they’ll last? Best to enjoy them while we can. And yes – not to sound too hippy dippy or oblivious – beauty is everywhere. The trick is to remember to look. The containers caught my eye because of their vivid colours and the texture of the corrugation. Something about them made me happy. Maybe it was the mystery of where they’d end up or what was in them, but I liked them immediately and snapped away. I know what you mean about the appeal of serious work machines to kids. I used to bring my kids to an airfield in California to watch trainee pilots taking off and landing. And if the helicopter happened to take off while we were there? Double excitement.

      There’s an art installation in Dublin at the moment that highlights the name of the last ship to enter the port and the last ship to leave. You can go online then and follow where the ship is going or where it’s coming from. I keep thinking there’s a story or essay in there somewhere….

      Hope all well with you, Elaine. Glad to talk again. And thanks for the heads up about that sign language class. Will there ever be enough time to do everything we want?


      1. Gosh – thanks for the tip-off about the Dublin installation. It hasn’t been mentioned over here yet. It’s this one http://www.dublinships.ie, isn’t it? What a wonderful idea for the landlubbers among us. The sea is a magical space for us all.

        Will there be time to do all the interesting FutureLearn classes? And indeed, there won’t be time. My inbox reminds me that we’re now on ‘Week 3 of Literature and Mental Health’, though I haven’t even started yet. Oh well. The Catalan Sign Language was more a ‘oh look, what an interesting idea’ rather than a ‘get your head down and study this’. The online courses are great once you get going, but without a scheduled class timetable, it’s hard to remember to start.


      2. That’s the one, Elaine. Sorry – should have given you the link. It’s a simple idea, but effective. Reminds me there’s a whole world out there, ticking along without much need (or heed) of me. Am also enrolled in a couple of FutureLearn classes, although I tend to leave everything til the last minute and read all the transcripts in one go. Probably not what they had in mind when they spent all that time designing the courses….

      3. Me too! I’m whizzing through the Literature and Health one at the moment. The only courses that I’ve really felt drawn into were the Trinity College one https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/irish-history and the University of Nottingham one about ‘cognitive poetics’ https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/how-to-read-a-mind Both of them were very well put together and I felt that I was learning something fascinating and new.

  2. Aileen, thanks for bringing me back to Dublin!

    1. Thanks Jean! Hope you have some good memories of this part of the world.:}

      1. Oh some great ones! I was there from ’74 -’91 so it played a big part in my life.

  3. A rainy old place it’s true but you’re right, you never fully appreciate the fine, quiet days without the grim ones to compare. I used to enjoy the docks from the Ringsend/Pigeon House Road side where of course the docks were many years ago.

    1. Hi Roy, heard you’ve been having some wild and windy weather yourself in Jersey recently! At least the evenings are starting to stretch….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close